By Evan Mantyk

I’m thinner than most cars you see,
I do not guzzle as much gas,
And if I ever want to flee,
Between two cars I’ll eas’ly pass!
What am I?

I’m in the water but can’t swim,
And on the beach, I play a lot;
I’ll join with someone on a whim,
Yet a solid friend I am not!
What am I?

Heat me up, out here it’s cold,
Give me food but not to eat,
I’m made of metal not of gold,
My favorite friend is raw meat!
What am I?

My steps ascend and yet descend,
It could make a man get quite sick,
But I’m well and not at a dead end,
To stay low n’ rigid is my trick.
What am I?

I’m hunted by the Japanese,
I’m rather quick although I’m fat,
I have a gang who follows me,
My head is a sprinkler hat.
What am I?

The long hand of the clock has passed,
The short hand of the clock nine times.
When it stopped on nine at last
The short one toward the nine does climb.
What time is it?

Every day I spin and spin
Like a dancer on the stage;
I don’t stop once I begin,
I’m often trapped in a cage.
What am I?

I must be sick I feel so cold.
My siblings three don’t help me out:
One says, “My own fever’s taken hold”;
One says, “My hair is falling out”;
One says, “Here’s my advice like gold:
Give it three months, just wait it out!”
Who time of the year am I?

A puzzle to unlock,
A mystery to unfold,
In your hand right now it’s a shock,
Beneath your nose it’s taken hold.
What am I?

When I untied the Gordian knot
The whole Western world is what I got.
Who am I?

Alexander the Great’s favorite author,
Who some people say was completely blind;
Long before the days of King Arthur,
With Greek heroes he filled people’s minds.
Who is he?

The faithful wife of Odysseus,
Who wove an endless tapestry,
Enduring years of unhappiness
And keeping precious purity.
Who is she?

Achilles immortal mother
The Old Man of the Sea’s daughter
A goddess who lives in water.
Who is she?

Today, it is a city in New York;
The campus of Cornell University.
In ancient times, it was a Greek port;
Odysseus’s home after adversity.

They stood their ground these Spartan men
Outnumbered  more than one to ten
Against Persians invading then—
How many Spartans had there been?

Though Spartans fell and Athens burned,
The Persians soon did face defeat,
And Athens glory was returned:
My perfect pillars were complete!
What building am I?

The month of July is named after me
And the month of August after my son
In honor of the fixes I decreed:
Three hundred sixty five day year begun.
Who am I? Who is my son?

Once Caesar crossed this river small,
There was no turning back at all!

Where gladiators clashed in Rome
And animals attacked each other
And chariots raced beneath sky’s dome;
I stand today still without cover.
What place am I?

In ancient Greece so many came to me
To answer troubling questions they might have;
Apollo told me what would come to be,
And I then shared the truth but only half.
Who am I?

I’m rather tall and yearly I go bald;
So many people like to sit by me,
And yet no “How are you?” is ever called,
No “thank you” when I clean the air for free.
What am I?

Beneath a rainbow, near a bed,
I found a sword just right for me,
But then there came a hammerhead;
Since I’m a clown I had to flee.
…Where did all of this take place?

I have a neck, a body, tail,
And yet I’ve neither leg nor arm.
To loyal friends I’ll never fail
Although your neck I’ll slightly harm.
What am I?

I wear upon my speedy head,
A narrow cap of brilliant red;
And when I look for food in woods,
You’ll hear me searching for the goods.
What am I?

I breathe fire from my lion’s head.
I have the body of a goat.
A snake’s tail to invoke some dread.
A word that means unreal, I note.
What am I?

Long ago, Robin Hood stole from the rich,
And gave to the poor. Because of King John,
He waited for a better day in which
I returned from the crusade I was on.
Who am I?

I’m black and white but not mixed race.
Each year I’m always eighty-eight.
If in your home you have the space,
Then for your fingers I will wait.
What am I?

The only city on two continents
Was Hellenistic then Christian then Muslim
When the Ottomans conquered then pitched tents
Great texts the fleeing scholars took with them!

The longest river in all Europe,
I empty out in the Caspian Sea,
And if you follow me north (or up),
Not far from Finland you will be.
What river is it?

A philosopher whose teacher,
though great, could neither read nor write.
He said that a philosopher
Should be king and turn toward light.
Who is it?

(XXX-XXXIII translated from Hong Lou Meng / Dream of the Red Chamber)

The demons flee when I arrive;
My voice is like the thunder’s roar
And strikes such fear in all alive,
But now I’m merely ash on floor.

The children playing outside look at sky,
To where I glide upon the beauty bright,
And when you lose ahold I’m left to fly
Off: lonely soul of which you’ll lose all sight.

I calculate heaven’s will with human means,
But skill is needed to make use of me;
I spend my days divining things unseen,
And making sure the numbers all agree.

If you point me south, I’ll make it go north
And point me north, I’ll make it south go forth.
If this makes you sad, I’ll be sad as well,
So smile at me, in happiness we’ll dwell.





I. Motorcycle II. Sand III. Barbecue Grill IV. Staircase / Stairwell / Stairs V. Whale VI. 8:45 VII. Fan VIII. Winter IX. Riddle X. Alexander the Great XI. Homer XII. Penelope XIII. Thetis XIV. Ithaca XV. 300 XVI. Parthenon XVII. Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus / Octavius XVIII. Rubicon XIV. The Colosseum XIX. Oracle at Delhpi XX. Tree XXI. In the sea (rainbow trout / sea bed / sword fish / hammerhead shark / clown fish) XXII. Violin XXIII. Woodpecker XXIV. chimera XXV. King Richard I / Richard the Lionheart XXVI. Piano XXVII. Constantinople XXVIII. Volga XXIX. Socrates XXX. Firecracker XXXI. Kite XXXII. Abacus XXXIII. Mirror


Evan Mantyk is a high school English teacher in the Hudson Valley region of upstate New York.

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4 Responses

  1. Ase Wridle Cube


    Who is this teaching writer of our epoch’s wheeled law,
    this advocate of beauty, humour, and the realms of awe,
    this advocate of rhyme and metre, classic poetry,
    this Hudson River Valley riddler? Oh, who can it be?
    I hear it in the wind, ‘It’s Mant van Key.” But who is he?

  2. Kate

    Can you Answer to these 3 Classic Old Time Riddle’s, Bet you can’t 🙂 Lol

    Who killed the greatest number of chickens?
    Why is a falling star like a fog?
    Where is happiness always to be found?
    Why may carpenters reasonably believe there is no such thing as stone ?
    Why is a thoughtful man like a mirror?
    Can you asnwer? Try….. 🙂
    Source :

    Katie Nissh Smith


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